Glenn: Joe Is Better

Glenn Roeder says he cannot understand Joe Cole having his critics this season.

That there has been a certain amount of bandwagon jumping in the light of Sven-Goran Eriksson's decision to use him for England U21s rather than the full squad and Glenn is not pleased about it.

"I think it would be a good time for me to say that I have been a little bit unhappy, looking at reports saying that Joe has suffered a dip in form this year," says Glenn.

"I refute that, and I would argue with anybody that if you wrap up Joe's nine games and performances, he has played better than at any time this year.

"Since he has come back from the World Cup his performances for us have been very good - in what has been a very disappointing season so far.

"I am certainly not hiding behind anything or anybody - it has been an awful start.

"But he has been one of the few players that have come out with any credit.

"Joe has not had a dip in form; he has played better this season than he has done at any time last year.

"To be quite honest, he is on two Premiership goals not to mention the one he got for the U21s against Slovakia, and he could quite easily be on six or seven with the chances he has had."

Glenn is delighted that Joe is looking more likely to score this campaign, and adds:

"It is very encouraging and positive that he is getting opportunities because last year he didn't get into too many goal scoring chances.

"He has worked really hard on the training ground to become more aware of getting into the box and taking opportunities, having strikes at goal - and it has shown in his performances.

"The only disappointing thing is, and he will be the first to admit it, is that he hasn't scored more goals.

"But he could get eight or ten goals this season, and that would be a huge improvement on last year.

"So anyone who has written that Joe Cole has had a dip in form hasn't watched him this year; as a player, he is better now than he was at any time last year."

Glenn will not say, understandably, whether or not he was surprised by Joe being selected for the U21s.

"I'm not going down that road; I fully trust and respect the England team manager's decision, and he has made it for what he obviously thinks are the right reasons," he says.

"He has probably taken the view that it is better that he plays football rather than sits on the bench and I think that is a good decision that Eriksson has made."

Glenn was impressed with Joe's attitude to not making the full squad, and says:

"Joe has shown a fantastic attitude; when I spoke to him on the Sunday when he hadn't been selected for the seniors he was disappointed but his response for a young player was excellent.

"He said 'Glenn, it is an honour for me to play for my country at any level - I would never consider pulling out of a squad because I only feel I should be in the seniors.'

"A lot of players in the past few years have pulled out of squads and said they will only play for the seniors or they won't play for England.

"But Joe's attitude was a magnificent gesture by him - and he is right, of course he is right.

"It showed you how he has matured as a person that he is saying it is such an honour, and I am glad that he had a good game, creating opportunities for others as well as tucking one away himself to help England have a great win."

Michael Carrick also camre through the U21 win over Slovakia, and Glenn adds:

"Michael Carrick has been pushing on for us in the last three games and I am glad he played as well.

"I have always said his route back would be by fighting to win the ball and then using his abilities to pass."

Now Glenn is hoping further international appearances do not lead to injuries.

With David James not making the starting line up for the seniors' game against Slovakia, and Trevor Sinclair having dropped out through injury, there was some good news for a player who has been out of the Hammers line up of late - Christian Dailly.

His early header against Iceland helped the Scottish side beat their hosts 2-0 - and reinforced his position as leading scorer amongst the current crop of Scotland players with four goals.

"All I want is getting them home safe but it is always an honour to have our players selected for internationals," says Glenn.

"Nothing has changed now, but it is uncomfortable waiting for them to return fit and healthy so they can be involved for us at Sunderland."